By Mark Gibson, Co-Founder, 1 Click Auto Auction
As we know, consumers are constantly being barraged by marketing messages. Most of those messages are either via traditional (television or radio) ads. For most retail establishments, in-store retail displays are vital to not only attracting a customer’s attention but also assisting in purchasing decisions. The psychology behind this is that people buy what they can see, tough and feel… something every car dealership understands. The problem, however, is that typically the “see, touch and feel” piece for a car dealership doesn’t occur until the test drive which is why test drives increase closing ratios. That being said, we must look at the reality that successful retailers merchandise their products in such a way that is strategically designed to attract attention.
An article shared some tips and tricks on how retailers (which is ultimately what a car dealership is) can attract customers and immediately influence their buying decisions. Those tips included: colors, grouping, promotional materials, display and signage.
Colors – Scientific research has shown that different colors effect people in different ways. Whether those emotional responses include excitement, attention or calming, showcasing vehicles in such a way that it elicits the proper emotional response for each individual can increase desire immediately. For example, for customers interested in safety, a dealership may want to group models that are targeted toward safety with blue and green vehicles as these colors introduce a calming effect.
Grouping – The article makes an interesting point that positioning vehicles in odd numbered groupings (i.e. 3 cars together versus 4 cars) attracts attention for consumers. Most dealerships would position multiple models together but space out colors to showcase diversity and show customers choices whereas the color factor would suggest that a combination of colors that produce the desired emotions in combination with an odd numbered grouping would be more ideal.
Promotional materials and display – Strategic promotional materials and displays can both attract attention and educate customers. These materials are designed to do exactly that but many dealers hide vehicle brochures in a display rack and don’t necessarily want to highlight vehicle specials from the manufacturer when those are exactly the ones that are designed to attract customers. Manufacturers do tons of research and spend a ton of money on national specials, yet many dealerships will hide those vehicles or have few in stock. Dealers shouldn’t be afraid of these vehicles since the majority of vehicle shoppers don’t buy the vehicle they were initially interested in. In addition, dealers really should embrace these specials since the chances are great that a customer already knows about them before they ever walk onto the lot. The combination of a customer knowing about them and the fact that the majority won’t purchase those vehicles anyways brings credibility, transparency and, ultimately, trust to the consumer.
Signage – Get rid of the water colored windshields and invest in your merchandising. Have you ever seen any sale at any retail store drawn onto the display? Proper branded signage is important in not only attracting attention and providing information but also in influencing the buying decision. It’s no different when we talk about cars on a dealer’s lot. Make sure that pricing and individualized features are prominently displayed in a branded manner and customers will feel that the offer and product (in this case vehicles) are more legitimate.
All of these can easily influence a dealership’s choices in what to try to acquire and what to keep in inventory. By analyzing these trends in not only your market but in your previous sales, you can learn not only what vehicles you should be targeting but also how to get consumers to notice.
In the end, having a “lot party” and simply moving vehicles around isn’t enough. Using some of these tips and tricks to do so more effectively and showcasing vehicles in a way that not only elicits the emotional response you desire but also attracts the appropriate buyer’s attention will increase vehicle turn and gets more buyers on your lot interested while making their vehicle selection easier.
About the Author:
Mark has been in the car business for more than 30 years with the last 19 being in the digital space. He was one of three directors in the nation for the GM Advisory Board. He spent 5 years as part of FCA’s National Internet 20 group. Since 2016, he has worked with multiple automotive technology solution providers. He started 1 Click Auto Auction in 2017 which launched in June 2020.